There is so much to be said about a parent’s intuition when it comes to knowing when to get help for our children. Do you feel pressure from yourself to get your child to eat? Do you have disagreements with family about feeding your child? Do you feel like you’ve tried everything in the book? Have you found yourself talking yourself out of getting professional assistance? 

 There is strength in asking for help.

Jo Cormack outlines 5 questions that parents should ask themselves when it comes to deciding if their child needs specialist help in this article. And I agree that as a parent you need to #backyourself.  And there are many forms of assistance out there – I’ve even likened it to shoe shopping! And the reward for your effort could be much nicer than a new pair of sandals.

The first step: Understanding Fussy Eating

In our free Facebook group we give you a simple introductory lesson on the root causes of picky eating. And we expand in supporting parents with this throughout the first module of the Your Feeding Team membership subscription. 

7 Categories of Picky Eating Root Causes:
  • Food Neophobia and Cognitive Changes (often associated with picky eating during typical childhood development)
  • Medical Concerns either directly due to the concern, the ongoing symptoms or the changes to routine these can afford. (Medical concerns that impact feeding can be related to sleep, repeated illness, ASD, ADHD, ODD, sensory processing concerns, reflux, premature birth, traumatic birth, trauma, hospitalisations, allergies, intolerances, digestive issues, heart complications or choking incident… and many, many more.)
  • Sensory processing
  • Oral Motor Skill
  • Nutritional Deficiencies
  • Cautious Temperament
  • Anxious feeding dynamics

Even if you are still working out the root cause, you will be able to move onto identifying if your child’s feeding is problematic with the below red flags. It is important to keep searching for the root cause and realise that your child’s journey is not about something that you’ve done wrong. Harbouring guilt is not helpful in this situation, yet, your feelings are valid and worthwhile exploring productively. 

The second step: Understand WHEN Fussy Eating is MORE than developmentally typical

Below, I’ve made a little summary of the “red flags” for feeding difficulties and these are based on Dr Kaye Toomey’s set of red flags for problematic feeding. This is effectively your blueprint for knowing if your child is experiencing more problematic feeding and if professional help should be sought. 

Red Flags for Fussy Eaters - when to get professional assistance by Play with Food

Well-Meaning But Wrong Fussy Eater Advice

Unfortunately, the internet is full of well-meaning but misguided advice like “they won’t starve themselves”, “don’t worry about it” or “they will grow out of it”.  And hence why this post I wrote – The 9 Things NOT to say to a parent of a fussy eater – strikes a chord with so many parents with fussy, picky or problematic feeders on their hands. In actual fact, when red flags are flying, children can and will cause themselves irreversible damage.  Jo Cormack has also written two great articles that may help you sift through “well-meaning but WRONG advice” (this one on the WORST advice and this one on the BEST advice.

A Note on Stress

Whilst thinking about your child’s feeding concerns, also consider that parental stress, anxiety and your own feeding concerns/history are considered red flags.  Seeking help in these circumstances is also strongly recommended.  A great resource for parents is the feeding matters website that is provided by other parents that have gone through the life’s turmoil of having children with feeding difficulties.  They have an amazing board filled with the best feeding professionals and even have an online questionnaire to help you further clarify if your child has a feeding problem requiring more assistance.

Rather than turning this into a very long article, I just wanted to highlight that you are doing a great job and by reading this you are heading in the right direction.  At the bottom of the post I’ve made a PDF that you can take to a health care professional that can explain why you are advocating for your child to get some additional feeding assistance. In the brochure, I’ve also highlighted that joining a supportive group can help you through this time, like YOUR FEEDING TEAM.



Simone’s assistance for each age group…

For children between 0 and 2, start with the pre-consult workbook and video bundle, babies and food online masterclass. The pay-what-you-want feature has been enabled in this program to make it affordable. You can pay from $5. The recommended payment is $27. Once, you’ve worked through these introductory materials, we can arrange video calls for parent assistance and feeding observations as needed.

For children between 2 and 12, purchase Goodbye Picky Eating for an individual consultation and lifetime access to my information bundle. Consults are at your home in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, or online (any time zone.)

For primary schoolers, I offer my Online Sensory Food School every two months. An online peer group therapy meal setting and parents have two one-on-one sessions with me too. Max. 4 per group.

OR see more in the shop.

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